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When gardeners move: Planning can relieve anxiety

by Dean Fosdick
| April 16, 2010 9:00 PM

• Negotiating trades. "I once represented a couple who had been given a tree as an anniversary gift," Phipps said. "It was a small tree but it was important to them. We brought in a new tree to replace it. We negotiated the swap as an exception to the (sales) agreement."

• Providing a detailed user's manual. Diagrams, photographs and step-by-step instructions can greatly help new owners care for an unfamiliar garden, said Mark Glenn, a self-described "Hosta-holic" and an agent with Coldwell Banker Burnet in Minneapolis. "For a short time, at least."

• Taking cuttings from favorite plants. This is not foolproof, but it can produce clones.

• Helping with the changeover. "I knew a woman who had to sell her house because of a divorce," Phipps said. The garden "had been her canvas and it broke her heart to move. She gained permission from the new owners to come back and visit, and often she did. She also did some transitional work with them for a few years."

• Taking containerized plants or yard art when they move. "In our area, the custom is potted plants can be removed because they're portable," Phipps said. "If they're in the ground, they're treated differently."

• Keeping a photographic record. "Take the best photos you can, covering as much of your garden as possible, to remember what a wonderful part of your life it has been," said Wanda Teays, chair of the Philosophy Department at Mount St. Mary's College in Los Angeles. "Then move on. Don't drive back every week or month or year to see what's changed. You'll never be happy."

You can contact Dean Fosdick at deanfosdick@netscape.net.

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